A shocking video has surfaced from Telangana's Nizamabad district, two Dalit men are being ‘punished’ by an angry man, believed to be BJP leader Bharat Reddy.
The video shows Bharat Reddy holding a stick and threatening to cane two men as he hurls abuses at them.
While one man is on his knees, begging for mercy, another man is seen trying to speak to Reddy, and explain his version of events. There is also a muddy pool of water that can be seen behind them.
"Enter the water," he orders the two men, charging towards them with the stick as they try to protest. "Take a dip," he continues, as they tell him that their clothes and phone would get drenched.
"What you are doing is wrong. The government has not given permission...," one of them says from knee-deep water, as the BJP leader says that he has all required permission. Despite protests from the two men, he forces them to take a dip in the muddy water, and proceeds to record the incident on his phone.
The entire video is seemingly shot by one of the followers of the BJP leader. The victims are yet to be identified.
#Nizamabad #BJP local leader canes, threatens & punishes 2 Dalit men for questioning him about illegal sand mining. Leader's men recorded incident on cam which has now gone viral. #Telangana @asadowaisi @realkeerthi @divyaspandana pic.twitter.com/2KvcrE8jIQ— PAUL OOMMEN (@Paul_Oommen) November 12, 2017
Reports suggest that the two men had stopped the vehicle in which Bharat Reddy was traveling, to question the occupants of the car about alleged illegal sand mining that the BJP leader was indulging in.
Other reports suggest that the two men were allegedly digging up sand, and the BJP leader had caught them.
Speaking to TNM, a police officer from the Navipet police station said, "The incident took place last month around the time of Dusshera festivities, but is surfacing now, after the video went viral on social media. While we are not clear about what exactly happened, it seems that the two SC men stopped the vehicle of the other person in the video, right before the altercation."
"Some organisations have submitted a representation to the police on Sunday, but we are yet to receive a complaint from the victims. Once we receive a complaint, the investigation will move forward," the police officer said.
Several parties in Nizamabad have condemned the incident, and demanded that the BJP leader be arrested. AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi demanded that action be taken on such mob violence.
@TelanganaCMO @MinIT_Telangana @RaoKavitha @TelanganaDGP sir/madam action must be take immediately we cannot such Mob violence on Dalits in Telangana,BJP is suffering from frustration & facing political oblivion https://t.co/b0zS4bY0Fm— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) November 12, 2017
"We condemn this attack and insult on the two men and demand that a case under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act be registered against Bharat Reddy. We are also asking that Home Minister Nayani Narasimha Reddy should also take note of this incident," John Wesley from the Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch (DSMM) told a local media channel.
"These incidents are not new to the BJP. They are known to suppress the rights of the Dalits, and they have just proved it with this incident. If he is not arrested, we will organise a meeting with several organisations, and visit the village. We will also go to the police station ourselves and demand his arrest," he added.
The Telangana unit of the BJP however dismissed allegations that the person in the video was a party leader.
"BJP strongly condemns misrepresentation in few sections of media on the viral video from Nizamabad. The individual exhibiting barbaric and unacceptable behaviour in Nizamabad on Dalits is not a BJP leader, nor does he hold any position in the party at any level. BJP Telangana will consider legal options on those who are indulging in blatant misrepresentation," BJP spokesperson Krishna Saagar Rao said in a statement.